2022-10-20 Yvonne Lam - power relations and infrastructure

Yvonne Lam (@yvonnezlam): I'm having a week, thanks to technosolutionist masculine drivel, so I'm going to remind everyone that it's worth thinking about infrastructure as a relation (involving an actor/pov and a thing) and link to one of my favorite Susan Leigh Star papers:

https://twitter.com/yvonnezlam/status/1384282110056275972 https://twitter.com/raganwald/status/1583138678100348928

Because all of tech is caught up in that same (lazy) technosolutionist masculine drivel, we end up not talking about the power relation inherent in declaring something to be infrastructure: what gets made invisible to whom, which means what and who gets rewarded/supported.

In the large, infrastructural work is work that needs to be done so that other work can happen. I am a feminist, so I'm willing to reframe the questions as "How we care for the people who do it? How do we care for infrastructural systems? How do we support negotiation...

...between infrastructural concerns and product concerns?" Yes, who wants to do what matters, but so does why, which means system incentives matter too.

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